Lesser Violetear Colibri cyanotus

  • Order: Caprimulgiformes
  • Family: Trochilidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Mo Hobbs and Thomas S. Schulenberg



Forages from near the ground to the canopy. Often perches high in trees, overlooking flowers (Stiles 1999). Can be territorial at flowers, but is displaced by larger, more aggressive species such as Fiery-throated Hummingbird (Panterpe insignis) and mountain-gems (Lampornis spp.) (Feinsinger et al. 1976, Stiles and Skutch 1989).


Males set up small territories containing a food source and tall trees in which they perch, and from which they sing (Wagner 1945, Colwell et al. 1974). Males defend their food source against other violetears, as well as from members from other species of hummingbirds (Colwell et al. 1974).

Sexual Behavior

Undescribed for Lesser Violetear. This species presumably is polygynous, as are most if not all species of hummingbirds (Schuchmann 1999: 509).

Social and interspecific behavior

Lesser Violetear is solitary when foraging, as is typical of hummingbirds. Males often sing near to one another (Gaunt et al. 1994, Barrantes et al. 2008), however, but do not form true leks (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

Lesser Violetear competes at flowers with other species of nectarivores. It often interacts with Steely-vented Hummingbird (Amazilia saucerottei), but frequently is dominanted by this hummingbird (Feinsinger 1976). Territorial violetears routinely chase Slaty Flowerpiercers (Diglossa plumbea) (Colwell 1973).


No reports of predation on Lesser Violetear?

Recommended Citation

Hobbs, M. and T. S. Schulenberg (2017). Lesser Violetear (Colibri cyanotus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.lesvio1.01